Amateur Radio and me


To start with, I'll mention that I never could really take to the term "Ham Radio".
Maybe it goes back to the time when I was about 10, and I had a great comic collection. There was one comic which had either Mickey or Goofy as a Ham Radio operator in the story. I couldn't understand what that big antenna in his yard had to do with pigs. In fact, I think there were many terms in that story I didn't understand!

My next contact with amateur radio came when I started work at 17, at a country radio station. Both of the techs were amateurs, and showed me their HF AM gear. Mercury vapour rectifiers and all. At least, I could understand them, because we had them in the broadcast transmitter, and precautions had to be taken in using them to prevent blowups, or worse, ruining the tube.

But that was a brief encounter with Amateur Radio.

Within 3 years, I moved to an Adelaide radio station so I could study for the necessary certificate. There were several amateurs there, and when the going got tough in my studies, they would remind me that when I got my Broadcast ticket, I would only have to pass the Regulations exam to get a Limited amateur ticket. Anyway, it all happened, and I went on and did my morse exam too. I don't really understand all the fuss about the morse requirement which is going on at the moment. When I started work at that country station, we received an extra 25c in our pay for knowing morse code. We just learnt it, probably inside a month. I remember that an announcer (DJ) thought it was a bit of a challenge at the time, and he learnt with me.We practiced on each other. (He's on air now with the ABC in Adelaide).

Whether you think it will be hard to learn morse, or easy to learn, you are probably right.It's in the attitude you take.

I can't claim to have set the world of amateur radio on fire, but I've had a lot of fun with it. I work mainly on 80 & 20, with a bit of interest in 160. Most of my available radio time is on the various satellites, and Slow Scan TV on 80 & 20 metres. As in astronomy, I try and make my gear as much as possible, especially antennas. I've just replaced an 8 element yagi with a 4 element quad on my 2m satellite array, and works as good as the beam, with shorter turning radius. And I built it out of scrap.

When I can take the time, I enjoy Slow Scan Television (SSTV) on 80 & 20 metres. Here are some images from my files.

These were received as the sunspot cycle bottomed, so receiving conditions weren't the best. We are looking forward to improved propogation shortly. All you need to receive these pics are a reasonable receiver and a simple interface costing under $50.00. You can spend more if you are keen, but it's not necessary if you are just starting.( 73 is a traditional way of amateurs saying Best Wishes etc.)These were from East and West Australia as received in South Australia. I have some overseas pics, but they had callsigns in them, and I didn't want to use them without permission.

These were on 14.230 MHz, the internationally agreed SSTV frequency, but you will also hear them on 3.698 MHz during the evenings. I have also heard a group on 3.694.( Note the interference spots about one third of the way up this pic.)

Slow Scan is just one of the interesting ways of combining computers and Amateur Radio.
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